by Frank Bucholtz, Mission Record
Mission’s 140 international students got their school year started on Tuesday and Wednesday with a series of orientation events prior to the start of classes next Tuesday.
Most of the international students will be attending Mission Secondary, which as of next week will be the only senior high school in Mission. There will be 114 of them in Grades 10 through 12, out of about 1,300 students at the school.
Terri Szlovicsak, social worker for Mission School District international department, said that the international students come from Germany, China. Japan, Korea, Chile and Switzerland, as well as several other countries. The youngest ones are in Grade 5.
Their objectives in coming to Canada, where they pay $12,000 a year to attend school, are varied, she said. For most European students, they come for the experience of living and studying in another country. Many of them are already familiar with the English language.
The Asian students, and particularly those from China, come to learn English and get the Dogwood diploma for graduating from a B.C. high school. Many hope to remain in Canada or go to the United States for post-secondary studies.
Szlovicsak said there has been a modest growth in the number of international students coming to Mission over the past five years.
“This is the only program that actually generates revenue for the school district,” she said.
On Tuesday, the students gathered at the Leisure Centre to receive their timetables and be welcomed to Mission. After a lunch at the centre, they took part in a scavenger hunt in the downtown area to get to know Mission better.